Following controversy surrounding a study published in the Lancet earlier this month that examined the impact of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) on child mortality, “both the authors of the paper and the journal itself have finally responded,” blogger Matt Collin writes in the Aid Thoughts blog and provides a link to the post in the World Bank’s “Development Impact” blog that began the debate. The blog notes that study author Paul Pronyk of the Earth Institute, in a letter (.pdf) to the Lancet, retracts the child mortality data in the study and accepts that mathematical errors highlighted in the “Development Impact” post were made (5/18). In the Roving Bandit blog, blogger Lee Crawfurd discusses the Lancet editors’ response (.pdf) and writes, “There are definitely lessons to be learned across [the medical and economic] disciplines both ways. It’s just an incredibly sad state of affairs that one of the lessons that journals of medicine, the discipline that gave us randomized controlled trials, needs to learn from economics, is a more careful attention to statistics and causality” (5/21). In a post in the Christian Science Monitor’s “Africa Monitor” blog, blogger Tom Murphy summarizes the controversy and writes, “The discussion is important, say the critics, because of the popularity and cost of the MVP” (5/23).
“This week in Geneva, health ministers from governments around the world will meet at the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA) for their annual meeting to discuss health issues that affect everyone everywhere,” Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Among the resolutions they will consider is one supporting the Global Vaccine Action Plan, a road map to ensure that by the end of this decade, every child, everywhere enjoys the full benefits of immunization,” he notes.
Christy Turlington Burns, maternal health advocate and founder of Every Mother Counts, notes in this GlobalPost “Global Pulse” opinion piece that “99 percent of women who die during or after childbirth live in the developing world,” and women and girls ages 19 and younger are at a higher risk of maternal mortality and morbidity. But “[w]e know what many of the solutions are,” she says, including “access to health care, inexpensive drugs that stop post-partum hemorrhaging, a scale-up of community health workers, and reproductive health so that pregnancies can be spaced,” as well as education.
“Over a billion people, one in every six people living on this planet, suffer from one or more neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs,” a VOA editorial states, noting, “These usually treatable and preventable diseases include schistosomiasis; elephantiasis; trachoma; Chagas disease; river blindness; leprosy; kala-azar, dengue, black fever and other forms of leishmaniasis; and the three most common infections — the soil-transmitted parasites hookworm, roundworm and whipworm.”
“About $40 billion in global foreign aid may be wasted each year — failing to reach the poor people of the world — due to inefficient, political and nationalistic obstacles set up by aid donors, top aid officials have admitted,” Ben Barber, who has written about the developing world since 1980, reports in this Kansas City Star commentary. “‘There are some estimates that we may be wasting 30 percent of the $130 billion in foreign aid each year’ spent by all donor nations, said Brian J. Atwood, former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)” and current head of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a group of aid donors based in Paris that is part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Barber writes.
The Hill’s “Congress Blog” on Friday published two opinion pieces addressing global food security, the G8 summit, and the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security. The following are summaries of the pieces.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought” blog on Sunday published several commentaries addressing food security issues. Commentators include Roger Thurow, senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy at the Council; Lisa Dreier, director of food security and development initiatives at the World Economic Forum USA; Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and senior director at the National Security Council, and Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator; Danielle Nierenberg, co-project director of State of World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet for the Worldwatch Institute; Glynn Young, director of online strategy and communications for Monsanto Company; and Sam Dryden, director of the Agricultural Development initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (5/20).
“Through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, women are being recognized as playing a major role in tackling global hunger,” guest blogger Seema Jalan, director of global development policy at Women Thrive Worldwide, writes in this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog.” She lists “seven things we at Women Thrive believe any program — whether from government, an NGO or private company — have to do to succeed by reaching women,” including ensuring property rights for women and providing women farmers with the tools and training they need (5/18).
“As representatives of the World Health Organization Member States arrive in Geneva this week for the 65th World Health Assembly, I feel a cautious optimism about the future, and the future health of Africa,” Joy Phumaphi, co-chair of the Aspen Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, writes in this post in the Huffington Post Blog. “With two female heads of state in Africa – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia and Joyce Banda in Malawi – women’s health and gender equality are no longer marginalized, they have become central to a nation’s potential for development and prosperity,” she continues, adding the two “share a vision and passionate resolve to improve the lives of women in Africa — and like me they are founding members of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health.”
Blogs Address Food Security, African Agriculture In Anticipation Of High-Level Meetings In Washington
Several blogs recently have published posts in anticipation of a symposium on food security taking place in Washington on Friday, at which President Barack Obama is expected to speak, and the G8 summit at Camp David in Maryland on Friday and Saturday, both of which will focus on food security and agriculture in Africa.